Home>Feature>Budget veto override on the table, Sweeney says

Senate President Steve Sweeney. (Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Budget veto override on the table, Sweeney says

Governor hasn’t issued any hard veto threats

By Nikita Biryukov, June 17 2019 1:35 pm

Senate President Steve Sweeney on Monday said it’s possible the legislature would override a line-item veto that Gov. Phil Murphy has yet to issue if it cut funding for legislators’ priorities.

“If the governor did line item and it was something of substance that matters to the members, in my house or in the speaker’s house, then we would get together and decide if we were going to do an override,” Sweeney said.

Lawmakers introduced their budget on Monday and plan to advance it through committee later in the day.

The budget includes a lone tax increase, a hike in the tax rate for HMOs — which both sides agree with — and eschews the millionaires tax sought by Gov. Phil Murphy.

The threat of an override is real. Lawmakers nearly overrode a veto on a dark money bill earlier this month.

They had the votes but worked out a deal with Murphy that involved him signing a bill that that included portions he called “unconstitutional.”

Legislative leaders have resisted passing a millionaire’s tax since Murphy took office in 2017.

Though both houses have repeatedly passed the measure on previous occasion, Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin have since said that the $10,000 imposed on state and local tax deductions by federal lawmakers makes the tax on high earners a non-starter.

“How many times do I have to say it? How clear can I possibly be?” Sweeney said when asked about the possibility of a millionaire’s tax.

It’s not yet clear whether Murphy will veto the legislature’s budget.

The governor has issued some lukewarm veto threats but has stopped short of clearly saying he would veto a budget that did not include a millionaire’s tax, as he did last year.

In 2018, Murphy won a hike on the tax rate those making more than $5 million a year, though that deal falls well short of what the governor sought.

There are still two weeks before the budget deadline.

“I think we’ve all made a good faith effort. The speaker and I thought it was extremely important for us to make the effort, and I think they made a good-faith effort,” Sweeney said, referring to the governor’s office. “We all did.”

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